By Daniel Jackson
The Sunday, February 12, performance of Urinetown was nothing short of phenomenal, and I suspect the upcoming showings – February 23-26 – will be equally engaging. Simultaneously a catchy foot-tapping musical and a dystopian portrait of the future, a poignant testament to corporate avarice and light-hearted tribute to Cupid and his arrows, Urinetown encapsulates a wealth of emotions and social issues. Better-versed thespians might have my head for this comparison, but think The Giver mixed with a little Romeo and Juliet and a dash of Animal Farm, plus fantastic music, Dartmouth theatrical talent, and really funny one-liners.
One could read it as a religious tribute too: an entire song hails the majesty of the sky, the protagonist (whose father is Joseph) starts a populist uprising and **spoiler!** sacrifices himself for their cause. Or the story might be a denunciation of corporate power, presenting the abysmal world of a world ruled by greed and the ensuing toll on human life.
But however one chooses to frame the show, Urinetown’s many messages are unnervingly timely and morally imperative: we must be vigilant in untying the knot between money and government, we cannot continue to frivolously deplete the resources on which our lives depend (ahem, water?), and we cannot let capitalist quests for profit continue to strip people of their very humanity.
P.S. And in case you need a real-world example of Urinetown , take a look at this article!